Saudi Arabia has announced the departure of its first blockchain-powered cargo as it looks to establish itself as one of the world’s premier logistics and trade hub.
In a statement, Saudi Customs said the cargo departed Dammam Port in Saudi Arabia bound for Rotterdam with all its data and documents visible on its TradeLens-backed FASAH platform.
The container in question arrived in Dammam Terminal on March 27, 2019. The commercial invoice and packing list were uploaded by the shipper to the TradeLens platform in a structured format, with the export customs broker using the data to submit an export declaration to Saudi Customs.
At that point, it was loaded onto the Maersk Seabarok, transhipped in the Port of Tangier and sailed to Rotterdam, where the Dutch Port Community System provided the Dutch customs release messages and information directly to the TradeLens platform.
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Speaking about the milestone, His Excellency Ahmed Al-Hakbani, Governor of Saudi Customs, said: “To establish the Kingdom as one of the world’s premier logistics hub we needed to create a paradigm shift in the way we handle our shipping processes and explore futuristic approaches with our peer-to-peer business ecosystem worldwide.
“We hope our pilot program will stand the test of time to include other ports as well, and not just the route of exporting, but importing also. We chose to embark on this tech journey knowing that change is uncomfortable, but it is inevitable to be a leading global player.
TradeLens is the initiative between Maersk and IBM that looks to use blockchain as the foundation for digitizing supply chains and enable industry innovation and, ultimately, increasing global trade.
It was launched in August 2018 with 94 participants, including carriers, ports and other stakeholders in the supply chain, such as Saudi Customs.